Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Gifts has God Given You?

When I ask people what gifts people have to offer to God, I get various replies from ‘hearing complaints’ to ‘gardening’ to ‘making jams‘. These are all nice things to do. But what concerns me is that Holy Scripture tells us what gifts we can have to offer to God for His service. The first list is found in Romans chapter 12:6-8: “God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully.” The second list appears in I Corinthians 12:7-11: “The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.” In summary, the gifts that come from God are serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, kindness, prophesying, words of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles and the discernment between spirits.

This is a lot. But St. Paul reminds us that not everyone has all of these gifts. They are divvied up among the members of the body. It is important to note that these gifts come from God. It is what He wants us to have for us to serve Him. So why can’t we just garden or make jams? That question is best answered by what is the greatest gift God has given us? Hopefully, you will say salvation. Can we save ourselves from death? No! Likewise, can we serve God with our own gifts? No! God gives us what we need to serve Him! Our life on earth is about serving God! He knows what the world needs and has given us the tools to serve Him in the world.

Every Christian needs to pray that each and everyone of us asks that God shows us what gifts He has given us. And then we must pray that we use holy boldness to serve God by being selfless in the sharing of our gifts. Easter we received the salvation of God by Christ’s death and resurrection. Lest us receive the Holy Spirit and all the gifts he has to offer!
Fr. Allen